Like the various Lebowski Fests that happen across the country annually, the Los Angeles iteration brings together enthusiasts of the cult-favorite film The Big Lebowski for a night of movie watching and rabid fandom. This year, the LA version of the fest saw a particularly notable guest billing in the form of Jeff Bridges and his band, The Abiders.

To exactly no one’s surprise, the prospect of seeing The Dude (or His Dudeness or Duder or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) in the flesh prompted a mass surge of ticket sales and a sold-out crowd at The Wiltern last Friday. There’s something satisfying about walking into The Wiltern to be met by John Goodman-lookalikes and a gaggle of long-haired white dudes wearing bathrobes. Throw in The Big Lebowski‘s star belting out country folk with the help of his band, The Abiders, and you have a room full of thoroughly content fans, even if the set itself ran for about thirty minutes tops.

Jeff Bridges

Running through CCR’s “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor,” which was featured in the film, and tracks from the film Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges was very much on point. I had admittedly gone in expecting a gimmick — after all, it’s simply unfair that an actor as talented as Mr. Bridges could possess even an iota of musical talent to boot — but I was pleasantly surprised to find legitimate musical chops. Unlike Donny, Jeff Bridges was very much in his element on stage.

Apart from the music, the evening featured appearances from various film characters, with even the Ralph’s checkout girl who had about 5 seconds of screen time earning a warm reception. Cocktail waitresses dressed as dream sequence, Viking-helmeted Maude delivered White Russians to aspiring Urban Achievers everywhere. Then, of course, there came a screening of the movie rife with iconic lines being shouted out from beginning to end.

“That’s right, man.  Nobody fucks with the Jesus.”

Long story short, if you’re in any way a fan of this movie, Lebowski Fest is well worth a drop-in (if only to see what condition your condition is in). Then again, that’s just like, uh, my opinion, man.

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Jeff Bridges
Lebowski Fest